Why did Fitzgerald choose This Side of Paradise for the title?
Initially the title for ‘This Side of Paradise’ was ‘The Romantic Egotist’. Fitzgerald changed it to This Side of Paradise being influenced by Rupert Brooke’s poem, Tiare Tahiti. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a contemporary of Rupert Brooke and well versed with the works of Brooke.
Brooke’s focus is on another world when he wrote Tiare Tahiti, undoubtedly the life hereafter. These lines in the poem:
“Hard for us to understand.
Out of time, beyond the sun,
All are one in Paradise,” (Brooke, n.d.)
Cannot but allude to the life after death.
The title ‘This Side of Paradise’ is bewildering as paradise is supposed to be blissful whichever direction or angle you look at it from. But this title is also satisfying insofar as the story views society’s shortcomings in achieving paradise. (Manichaean, n.d.)
The protagonist in the story, Amory Blaine’s keeps falling in and out of love for varied reasons. His first relationship with Isabelle Borge is short-lived due to his ego. Later he falls in love with Rosalind Connage, the sister of one of his college friends. This again ends disastrously as Rosalind prefers a richer man. This is not a suitable background for any side of paradise. (West III, n.d.)
The story was written between 1917 and 1920 that witnessed the course and end of World War I. The writer, F. Scot Fitzgerald enlisted for the war. He was also a Princeton student and had close hand view of the aspirations and blasé they experienced. He returned alive from the war but many contemporaries did not. He capitulates in the end to the discipline missing in achieving paradise with the words, ‘I know myself, but that is all.’ (Nichter, n.d)
The story is a summary of love, war and crazy society. Amory’s relationship with women is shortlived and dissatisfying. The problem lies in his egotist character or in his inability to satisfy the ambition of the woman he loves.
- Manichaean, This Side of Paradise, Retrieved from http://www.online-literature.com/fitzgerald/sideparadise/.
- West III, J. The Making of “This Side of Paradise,” Retrieved from http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/2021.html.
- Nichter K. This Side of Paradise: Summary, Themes & Analysis, Chapter 12 / Lesson 23, Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/this-side-of-paradise-summary-themes-analysis.html.
- Brooke, R. Tiare Tahiti, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/tiare-tahiti.
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